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"What's Going On" - Marvin Gaye

Record cover artwork for "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye.

Andrew Luke
The single was released in 1971, in the same year as the great Marvin Gaye album of the same name.

Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"

Video of Marvin Gaye singing "What's Going On" live in 1972.

Andrew Luke
The writers dealt with political and divisive issues in their lyrics. The song was inspired by an anti-war protest.

Lyrics for "What's Going On"

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today - Ya

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you what's going on - Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby

Marvin Gaye - "Whats Going On"

Lyric video for "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye. Sing along to this moving song.

Andrew Luke
Al Cleveland was inspired by Renaldo Benson's experiences and wrote a version of the song. The song was passed on to Gaye, who added his own lyrics and melody.

Songwriter Marvin Gaye

Andrew Luke
Gaye recorded and produced the song in Hitsville, a nickname given to Motown's first headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.
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